The Read from This Side of Suite 711 (15)


“B Two = Badge lacks courage to educate” (cont.)  

And by asking the question, by (once again!) forcefully elbowing the reader/viewer to give up some affirmation or applause – for just a moment – Realist almost stops in mid-whirl and recognizes the insubstantial nature of a spectacle-dependent sense of self: the pupil-image/tag/badge Realist is creating may not be “true” (or not “professional”) after all.

But the moment passes quickly.  Redoubling efforts at deflecting and delusion, Realist barrels on,  “I” whirling and finger pointing at District Office’s trickster world of false symbols and shifting meanings.  Ever playing to the (in) crowd at some “Other’s” expense. 

“Riddle me this: Do ivy league [sic] faculty wear badges when they help their customers? Didn’t think so,” writes Realist.

Of course faculty at Ivy League schools wear “badges”: they wear the “Ivy League” reputation.  That reputational good is what enrolling students purchase.  Students there – just like CCC students here – dream of wearing graduation gowns, mortar boards and tassels, and receiving diplomas.  The badges worn by Ivy League faculty and students – just like those worn by faculty and students who work at CCC, Best Buy, or video game stores – neither contain any fixed meaning nor have a fixed relation to those (“trained to be slaves”) who wear them.  People give “badges” to themselves and each other, and people give meaning to those badges.

Some “badges” are earned, some not.  Unlike Henry, Realist does not come to understand this.

Narcissistically, Realist identifies with the Ivy League and not with CCC or its students.

Realist writes: “Only educated peeps having [sic] the courage to promote true education with words and actions; which is more than I can say for the people responsible for authoring [sic] the badges.”  Notice the use of the word “authoring,” not “authorizing.”

And Realist is responsible for authoring all of the “badges” in this post, for erecting unmistakable markers of class (if not race) in a post that, ultimately, was never intended as any kind of critique but as mere self-aggrandizement for the purpose of (in-crowd) affirmation.

Realist’s drive to separate “them” from “us” reaches new lows as the post concludes.

(Next: the conclusion to Second Sketch/B Three begins)

19 thoughts on “The Read from This Side of Suite 711 (15)

  1. This installment of Suite 711 was posted about two hours ago. Curiously, the installment appeared below the previous post re: acting/theater job searches/a search engine. A glance at the WordPress dashboard revealed that the acting/theater post had been made “sticky.”

    Is that a common practice among bloggers on the Lounge?

    • The example for acting/theatre was referring to an AA degree with an emphasis in that discipline, emphasizing that it was not posted on HWC website. It was simply an example. I saw no mention that it had been made “sticky”.

      The series of posts lately have been quite pedantic & detrimental. Let’s focus on positive pedagogical standards, and continue to question those who stand in the way of our academic freedom.

      I’m beginning to feel that we are becoming our own worst enemy. And we are imploding on all these musings.

      • Not being a seasoned blogger, I didn’t understand what being made “sticky” means. So I looked it up: being placed first to read in the blog. 12keystrokes questioned the common practice of it.

        Sigh- too much drama. Let’s just leave all the theatrics where they belong. I invite you all to witness true drama when the Loop Players present the docudrama “The Exonerated”. Please excuse this lame plug….I just couldn’t resist.

    • Yes, for topics that are designated as “of particular importance for awareness/sustained discussion.” We’ve all stickied posts for a few days to make sure that everyone sees them.

      And we do not unsticky (or otherwise edit) each other’s posts without permission from the author. The author typically does that her/himself.

  2. AIYA! Enough with the 12 keystrokes/Realist back and forth.
    Please return us to our regularly scheduled Harold Lounge — with posts of use to the average faculty/staff/community member.

  3. I just reread the Realist post you mentioned and then all the comments. The Realist is not my favorite but the topic was interesting and the responses thoughtful and entertaining. I think the point you make about us/them is correct, with us being faculty, and them being district administration. However, I think that us/them mentality became more apparent with the new leadership at District and is not just a creation of Realist. The Realist has identified the problem and I think we should consider ways to reduce the us/them mentality, perhaps with more communication with District? 12keystrokes is that the point of this rhetorical analysis, do encourage more communication with District so we can reduce us/them?

    • Hi, Anonymous.

      In the swirl of anonymity your reply was overlooked.

      No. That’s not the point of the analysis. Your comments do, however, help to illustrate why Realist has been able to Realist flourish here under the guise of “debate” re: the changes brought about as a consequence of this or that.

      Us/them thinking should always be avoided.

      • “Us/them thinking should always be avoided.”

        While such thinking can definitely lead to negative outcomes, your absolutism seems just as dangerous to me. Us/them thinking seems reasonable in circumstances where those who hold power use it for injustice.

        Side topic – why come to a blog, make these sweeping arguments, and then not even back them up when people take the time to respond? maybe this time.

        • Not really. There may be some theory passing between us (or not) that could be getting in the way. You need to see that us/them/absolutism in context.

  4. Not really what?

    I find theory usually gets in the way of the practical. Demonizing has been used by social movements for centuries to expose abuses of power. You didn’t provide a context, just a sweeping assertion.

        • Because of the way that you have jumped into this thread.

          That is to say, people may not realize it but behind the scenes on the WordPress Dashboar, bloggers are able to see email addresses. This makes the “layout” of the flow of discussion look very different.

          Some of the addresses give expression to a double-dose of emotive outburst. It doesn’t matter if the usernames are really parts of email addresses, but it is both sad and disturbing to think that they might be real since some are undeniably demonizing and/or designed to “take issue” with any criticism directed to Realist or Realist’s position (which is somewhat difficult to ascertain). Who would create an email account/address with such usernames?

          In other words, “anonymous” and other “pseudonyms” that appear on the blog do not give the readers the full “flavor” of many commenters (or, perhaps, a few commenters or a single one). Real names, photographs, avatars, etc. are other ways that commenters/Loungers try to create an online presence, but these others. . . well, they seem both deceptive and angry.

          12keystrokes is new to blogging and is still learning how to play with the software. Perhaps this type of behind-the-scenes-sniping via usernames/email accounts has always been a part of the Lounge, or perhaps it is a fairly recent developmen.

          In any event, you are defending the positive and practical applications of demonizing rhetoric over the centuries, correct?

          • I’m not particularly sure how my email address could be viewed as offensive?

            Thanks for sharing how the backend works and avoiding the topic all together.

            I have no desire to defend realist. Criticize away. Just be open to it yourself.

          • “Some of the addresses give expression to a double-dose of emotive outburst. It doesn’t matter if the usernames are really parts of email addresses, but it is both sad and disturbing to think that they might be real since some are undeniably demonizing and/or designed to “take issue” with any criticism directed to Realist or Realist’s position (which is somewhat difficult to ascertain). Who would create an email account/address with such usernames?

            In other words, “anonymous” and other “pseudonyms” that appear on the blog do not give the readers the full “flavor” of many commenters (or, perhaps, a few commenters or a single one). Real names, photographs, avatars, etc. are other ways that commenters/Loungers try to create an online presence, but these others. . . well, they seem both deceptive and angry.

            What are you talking about, 12keystrokes? I don’t understand what you see, and whatever you see, I think you’re overstating it.

            Of the last 100 comments, exactly one person wrote in a (probably fake) email that read “” exactly twice, and there were a handful of comment-related usernames (by which I mean less than five–Eureka, Ni_Mane, Watson I Presume, etc.–and the rest were longstanding contributors or anonymous or clearly identifiable. But in your comment, you make it sound like there’s some sort of covert, behind-the-curtain, barely suppressed flame war happening, barbarians with torches at the gate, etc., a secret, invisible ink, subtext.

            What usernames or email addresses qualify as “taking issue” with criticism aimed at Realist/Realist’s position? And isn’t anonymity, partial or complete, necessarily deceptive? Could it be otherwise? And what is ‘angry’ about any of it? (And even if one or two comments are ‘angry,’ so what? Talk about using a ‘devil word’)…

            Not mad, just sayin’.

            And as for everyone else, please remember that you can post comments WITHOUT including email addresses and thereby preserve most of your anonymity (and I say most because WordPress still records an IP address from the computer or network you’re on. Ironically, if you post from your school computer and don’t provide a name or email address, the ISP is the same for all of them and so we (the editors) won’t know who you are.) Again, the ONLY people with access to the behind-the-curtain views are editors and they are all full-time, HW faculty. Caveat omnes.

            Also, 12keystrokes, just to clarify our conventions as they’ve developed over the last three years–making posts sticky is reserved for significant, breaking information, critical content, and/or time-sensitive material/discussions. Not sure how #17 qualifies under those criteria. If you’d like to establish a regular post time/pattern, I’m sure the rest of us will be happy to honor it. Otherwise, it’s first come, first served. Thanks.

  5. Numbers, PhiloDave?

    The range of examples you mention in your comment coincides with the slice of 12keystrokes’ experiential pie of 17 posts and 2 months. That experience includes snipes, the various visible names on the blog, and those various names behind the scenes (and you rush through that list – “. . .and the rest were longstanding contributors or anonymous or clearly identifiable”).

    Crunching those numbers again – and keeping your count of the last 100 comments – the slice of pie grows a bit, doesn’t it?

    Understand it now? Or don’t those numbers factor into your 7% Solution? (Great movie, poor pun.)

    Additionally, the thread in which this takes place involves someone who takes a position regarding demonizing rhetoric and social movements, all punctuated with toss-away comments. You write: “(And even if one or two comments are ‘angry,’ so what? Talk about using a ‘devil word’)…”

    People will have different perceptions of what constitutes “anger,” of course, but replying “so what” simply dismisses the event/experience of anger. You simply privilege your own feelings here. That’s not an argument. (It’s like stepping aside from a position regarding demonizing rhetoric and social movements. And “Angry” in itself isn’t a devil word. Context has a lot to do with it.)

    You privilege your feelings once again in the information you provide re: Lounge posting conventions. Establishing those conventions is a good place to start a conversation, not end one. “Sticky” only became known as a consequence of the “Degrees?” post of That post kept floating to the top, and poking around on the Dashboard revealed why: there’s a box to check to make a post “sticky.”

    Not sure how that “Degrees?” post qualifies under your criteria. Are you?

    Perhaps this is a conversation that should be directed to Lounge authors in a more general way.

    Re: “deception” and “anonymity.” Anonymity isn’t the issue taken up with Realist or in this thread here. Duplicity, however – or the use of demonizing rhetoric and social movements – is another matter.

    Re: “a secret, invisible ink. . . .”

    “A secret,” clearly, belongs with someone else.

    And the best thing about all this has been the length of the reply!

    • Re: Comments Summary Pages:

      Many of the comments on summary page #6 are in response to “Suite 711” #7 and #8:

      8 – anonymous/pseudonymous (6 critical)
      4 – Realist
      3 – 12keystrokes
      3 – misc.
      1 – Kamran
      1 – PhiloDave

      Of the 8 “anonymous” comments, 4 of them include an email address that is associated with another pseudonym. (See That would be duplicitous, PhiloDave (as in manipulating perceptions).

      This changes the “flavor” of the conversation visible to other Loungers. (Just curious – from your view of page #6/etc. what leads to Surely not a mere numbers argument.)

      Re: more examples of summary pages:

      Well, more of the same from this view. . . . Depending on when you start marking 12keystrokes’ participation on the Lounge, one must go back seven or eight summary pages to bite into the “experiential pie.”

      The WordPress Dashboard presents comments in groups of twenty on a kind of summary page. From left to right across the screen, the headings are “Author,” “Comment,” and “In Response To.” Email addresses, usernames, and IP addresses appear under the “Author” column. Comments appear in chronological order, from most recent going back.

      Only this afternoon – just one cup of coffee ago – did the software bundling of comments in groups of twenty become apparent. The software doesn’t care about length of comments – which might affect layout/pagination on a Word document – but only about the quantity of comments. Twenty. (Sometimes the summary pages are nice and tidy, other times they are quite long due to the length of comments.)

      Realizing this makes doing the math (or counting) much easier.

      PhiloDave, could you post a screen shot of what is being discussed here so that all may visualize it? Be sure to redact all addresses, please. (Sizing media remains puzzling on this end.)

      PS: Appreciate the usually substantive and thoroughness of your (usually) lengthy posts as well!

  6. Sigh. Ok. You want lengthy and thorough? Here’s both. (Please note that your second response came after I wrote most of this, and so it is not treated except passingly here.) In three acts:

    ACT I: On March 13th at 11:04 pm, 12keystrokes says:

    C1: 6keystrokes seems angry.
    P1: Behind the scenes, the discussion looks very different (i.e., sad and disturbing).
    a: Some of the addresses of comments give expression to emotional outburst
    b. These are demonizing addresses/names
    c. Or (inclusive) these are names designed to take issue with criticism of Realist.
    P2: Real names, photographs, and avatars are some of the ways that commenters/ Loungers try to create an online presence.
    P3: (Clarification of P1) Behind the scenes, these others (i.e., non-real names, etc.) are revealed to be different in intention from mere anonymity and seem deceptive and angry.

    PhiloDave’s Analysis (I): As an argument, this one is built to be rhetorically unassailable. How could I or anyone disprove the conclusion? As such it is an assertion that doesn’t need evidence. Your attempt to provide evidence suggests that the assertion you’re making is “6keystrokes is angry” but you’ve expressed that in a way that gives you a fallback position. Even if I show your premises to be false, you can simply say, “Well, that’s how the comment struck me—as angry” and we are left at an impasse. Your choice to argue for your position, though, leads me to interpret the conclusion of your comment as one about the actual psychological state of 6keystrokes (an interpretation that seems to be shared by 6keystrokes as well, based on her/his response).

    From there, the only way this argument works is A) if P1/P3 are describing the comments of 6keystrokes or B) there is a hidden undercurrent of rage that informs the Lounge discussions to which regular readers are not privy (the context of which colors the comments of 6keystrokes). I think it’s clear that 6keystrokes is not a demonizing name or address—it fits quite well with the author’s stated preference for concision and the addresses posted by 6keystrokes are varied, probably fake, but all entirely innocuous (e.g., Thus, either I have missed some major content with respect to your referents for P1a, P1b, and P1c or you have unwittingly been imprecise/said something you didn’t mean to (hence, the question: “what are you talking about?”) or we are driven to understand B as implied. It is this assumption to which I respond in the main.

    PhiloDave’s Response (about 24 hours later)

    C1: I don’t see what you see and whatever you see seems to be overstated.
    P1: Behind the scenes things do not look all that different (denial of your P1)
    a: Of the last 100 comments, only two have included a name/address that qualify as fitting the description of P1b above.
    b: Of the other 98, there were a five or so (less than ten) usernames that were related to the content of the comments to which they were attached.
    c: The vast majority (90%+) of the comments, usernames, and addresses are those described by P2.
    d: You imply there is a broad subtext of hostility (see P1/P3 and Analysis) that is not objectively discernible (denial of P1/P3).
    e. P1c is either unclear or false
    1. There are no names I can identify as taking issue with criticism of Realist.
    P2: The distinction that informs P3 is spurious.
    a. Anonymity in any form is necessarily deceptive.
    b. Deceptiveness does not allow distinguishing some of the comments in question from others.
    P3. The existence of some comments made in anger is not a problem of significant concern (or, more precisely, should not be) for authors or readers (aimed, again, at B from the analysis).
    a. (Assumption) There is a difference between saying that all angry comments (or, the existence of any angry comments) is a problem and the statement that a particular angry comment is a problem.
    b. (Assumption) Particular comments (made in anger or made dispassionately) may be of significant concern to some or all readers.
    c. (Assumption) Angry comments are part of discourse and argumentation, especially in online environments.
    d. (Implied) A comment actually or seemingly originating in anger is not a necessary nor sufficient condition for it being problematic for authors, readers, or the Lounge in general.
    P4: (Implied) What’s left of your argument is something like C: 6keystrokes seems angry because real names, etc. are ways that some commenters try to create an online presence and some other subset of anonymous commenters (taken broadly to include people who use changing handles) seem angry. This is a weak argument.

    PhiloDave’s Analysis II: This is a great response.

    ACT II: 12keystrokes responds (first response)

    C1. 12keystrokes’ experiential pie consists of 17 posts over two months, which coincides with the period of the last 100 comments.
    C2. This makes a slice of the pie bigger.
    C3. The context of the 12keystrokes/6keystrokes interaction is one in which 6keystrokes takes a position regarding demonizing rhetoric, all punctuated by toss away comments.
    C4. Philodave writing “If some people are angry, so what?” is a problem.
    P1. Perceptions of anger are subjective.
    P2. Writing “So what” dismisses the event and experience of anger.
    P3. Such a dismissal is not an argument.
    a. This dismissal is a mere privileging of PhiloDave’s pheelings.
    b. (Assumptions) Privilegings of feelings cannot constitute arguments.
    P4. It is akin to 6keystrokes’ stepping aside (i.e. avoidance of ownership) from having taken a position regarding demonizing rhetoric.
    a. (Implied) 6keystrokes sidesteps her/his position regarding demonizing rhetoric in his/her comments.
    P5. Anger is not a “devil word”
    a. Context has a lot to do with it.
    C5. Philodave privileges his own feelings again in the sticky post discussion.
    P1. Clarifying conventions opens rather than closes conversation
    P2. ‘Stickiness’ became an issue because of a post about degrees.
    P3. The post does not clearly conform to the conventions listed.
    P4. (Implied) Philodave’s discussion of stickiness is primarily an assertion of his personal preferences couched in the appearance of objective rules.
    C6. A discussion about stickiness among the editors may be helpful
    (Implied: C5P1, C5P2, C5P3)
    C7. Anonymity is not the issue of concern regarding Realist or the 6keystrokes exchange.
    C8. Duplicity or (inclusive) demonizing rhetoric is 12keystrokes’ issue of concern with respect to Realist
    C9. Duplicity or (inclusive) demonizing rhetoric is 12keystrokes’ issue of concern with 6keystrokes.
    C10. A secret belongs with someone else.
    C11. The best thing about the reply was the length.

    (2nd response)
    C1(II). The “flavor” of the conversation visible to readers is different than that experienced by 12keystrokes.
    P1(II) 4 of 20 responses from a certain period (an unspecified number of which are associated with 12keystrokes’ posts 7 and 8) are anonymous but include an email address that identifies the author by one who has used a pseudonym previously.
    P2(II). The action described in C1(II)P1(II) is duplicitous.
    a. The manipulating of perceptions is duplicitous.
    (Non argumentative description and request for a screen shot (aside: sorry, can’t do a screenshot without showing the addresses/ISPs and I don’t want to do that and don’t know how to redact them from the image.), followed by a compliment (for which I thank you), which I take as a request to be substantive and thorough in my response).

    PhiloDave’s Analysis III: Of the 11 claims here, 8 are mere assertions and do not qualify as arguments. I do not understand claims 1, 2, 3 (What is the scope of all here? What is a “toss away” comment? These things are unclear, as is how the context of a discussion about demonizing rhetoric and 6keystrokes’ position on the issue serve as evidence of 6keystrokes seeming angry (see Act I), and C10.

    Taking the others in reverse order, C11 is a clear privileging of feelings. Yours, this time. I have no problem with that here. C8 seems true to me in light of my reading of your reading of Realist. C7 and C9 may be true but are not supported by the content of your exchange with 6keystokes (see Act I), indicating a communication breakdown or a coherence error. Your concern seems to be with 6keystrokes’ motivations rather than her/his duplicity or rhetoric.

    The claim in your second response C1(II) seems to indicate that C9 is true, but, again, that was not an aspect of your response to 6keystrokes’ criticism. Furthermore, I don’t see how C1(II) expands upon or clarifies or strengthens any of the original 11 or addresses any of my criticisms. You say things look different behind the scenes in your comment that started this exchange. I disagreed. Your C1(II) suggests that in one collection of 20 comments a respondent has sometimes used a pseudonym and sometimes posted “anonymously” which makes discussions on the Lounge appear to be both sad and disturbing. Maybe, MAYBE, you could make a case for a particular discussion (or two) being sad and disturbing, but then you need to be clear about restricting the scope of your reference, but you aren’t and so your critique takes on a sweeping grandiosity that, intended or not, is disproved by the evidence (i.e., 20 or 100 or 1000 comments). Maybe you just meant those two threads (for posts 7 and 8). Ok, but even then, I’m not sure you’ve made your case. What’s wrong this kind of duplicity (posting in one thread under a name and in another anonymously)? You say anonymity is not the problem and yet it seems to be precisely the problem if C1(II) is to be taken as helpful. Either way, something needs fixing. I completely agree with C6 and we can and will do that by email—look for that next week.

    With respect to C5, the argument is structurally adequate and I strongly agree with C5P1 (and recognize that my previous response suggests otherwise). I disagree, as you might guess, with C5P3. There will be more on this in the discussion promised above, but the short version is as follows. With respect to context, the authors have, historically, given wide berth to each other in interpreting what is of immediate or necessary community concern/in need of discussion. This openness has been balanced by a reticence to hog the ‘mic’ as it were and give each other room to speak and the courtesy of not stepping on each others’ posts. Beyond the context, though, is the post in question and whether it conforms to the guidelines. In light of the context above and the issue of the post (connecting as it does to the context of Reinvention and the coming Reinvention7—“a unique opportunity to double down on the goals of Reinvention”), if I were to rate the posts of the last two months in terms of the their community importance, I’d put that one at or near the top. That students are provided with a career planner when they seek information about degrees and that degree information is incredibly difficult to find (try for yourself) on both the CCC and college website is egregious and outrageous, particularly coming from people ostensibly concerned, overridingly, with degree completion! I would laugh if it weren’t so misguided.

    But perhaps it isn’t misguided—maybe it is just an error of coding or a confusion of purpose. Audrey Burns the CCC website guru is a regular reader of the blog, and so are a bunch of administrators. Maybe they didn’t know. Or maybe they do know, but don’t see the problem.

    Questioning and discussing the role and priority of career planning in academic advisement seems to be a top tier issue for the readers of the Lounge to me, and I’d like to see it get more discussion. That sounds like a personal preference, though (bad, says C4P3b and C5 and the positivists of history who analyze all normative claims as merely preferential). Ok, then—let me restate it: that is an issue that ought to get more time at the top of the page relative to the other posts that might have occupied that spot in order to promote awareness and discussion, while communicating its status as an issue to the readership (which likely includes those administrators who were indifferent but wouldn’t be in light of the content of a discussion or its public nature). If that still sounds like a personal preference, then I refer you to the devastating work of Karl Popper on the positivist position, as well as the late Wittgenstein. I could make other suggestions, too, but those should do.

    That brings the discussion around to the question of relative priority of the posts of that week. You clearly see demonizing rhetoric both generally and in the particular case of Realist as a high priority topic for the readers of the Lounge. You wouldn’t have written 11,287 words (so far) on the topic if it weren’t. I don’t disagree that if pervasive (or even frequent) such rhetoric would be corrosive and destructive and in need of urgent attention/consideration. Perhaps due to my own blindspots, I do not believe that demonizing rhetoric is either pervasive on the Lounge, and I have not yet been convinced by your work. I agree it exists, and I’m interested in the discussion on the issue, but its weighed against a high-profile, potentially highly-impactful and very real indicator (intentional or not) of a foundational shift in (or at least narrowing of) institutional philosophy, and the fact that its unfolded over two months and is approximately 40% complete, I argue that, contextually, the Degree post more than rises to the standards of our conventions, while the post that you stuck on top of it does not.

    In any case, without C5c, the truth of the conclusion hinges on a philosophical difference about the nature of normative propositions and is unlikely to be resolved here.

    On to C4 which goes as follows (so you don’t have to scroll back up):

    C4. PhiloDave writing “If some people are angry, so what?” is a problem.
    P1. Perceptions of anger are subjective.
    P2. Writing “So what” dismisses the event and experience of anger.
    P3. Such a dismissal is not an argument.
    a. This dismissal is a mere privileging of PhiloDave’s pheelings.
    b. (Assumptions) Privilegings of feelings cannot constitute arguments.
    P4. It is akin to 6keystrokes’ stepping aside (i.e. avoidance of ownership) from having taken a position regarding demonizing rhetoric.
    a. (Implied) 6keystrokes sidesteps her/his position regarding demonizing rhetoric in his/her comments.
    P5. Anger is not a “devil word”
    a. Context has a lot to do with it.

    I agree that C4P1 is true. I also agree with C4P2. I also agree with C4c even though I disagree with the truth of both of its premises (C4P3a and C4P3b—my reasons are related to some aspects of the discussion above, but not germane to the point of this discussion and so best set aside for now, I think.). C4P4 is complex and involves two separate assertions—that 6keystrokes has sidestepped ownership of her/his position and that my dismissal of a few angry comments is similar to that sidestepping.

    I cannot make sense of this assertion because I don’t see any sidestepping (which I understand to be denial or obfuscating of a previously taken position) by 6keystrokes (i.e., I deny C4P4a) and, furthermore, I don’t see them as similar (i.e., I deny C4P4b). With respect to the former, the position taken by 6keystrokes is taken clearly and goes unchallenged the comment that started this exchange. 6keystrokes did not respond to your question prior to our exchange. That is not a sidestep. If anything, the sidestep was yours with a question about the anger or lack thereof of the author—i.e., a shift to discussing authorial intent and tone rather than the substance of the position offered. More on this in Act III.

    With regard to the second assertion, I am suggesting that, in the context of blog posts and comment threads, a few angry comments are to be expected and, further, that a comment made in anger (setting aside the difficulty, if not impossibility, of adequately ascertaining the psychological state of any author much less a semi or fully anonymous one—for the reader OR the author) is not sufficient for categorization of the comment as a problematic event. Not all angry events are the same and it is my belief that some are rightfully and properly ignored and dismissed. Perhaps we disagree on this. Perhaps this is borne of a difference in experience or a difference in attitudes about intersubjectivity and civility. I don’t know. I think the role of anger in education would make a really interesting paper/panel/discussion topic. I cannot take it up here, though. It seems to me that anger IS a devil word (or at least serves that function by implication) in your post. A position, importantly—one counter to your own, is taken by an interlocutor and your question is about the emotional state of the position holder? I don’t understand how an answer to your questions furthers the discussion; instead it shifts the focus to the arguer rather than the argument. And what is a good answer? I think most readers (it’s a guess) would say that ‘No’ is the ‘better’ answer in this situation. True or not, most people engaged in arguments would think it helpful or even important to deny any anger since it’s typically associated with irrationality. What if the answer is Yes? Where does the discussion go from there? It likely heads into an analysis of 6keystrokes’ rather than taking up the issue of concern between the two of you.

    Act III: The Synthesis

    This is too long already so I’ll be as brief as I can at risk of not mitigating the criticism offered above with the full context and tone control that I’d like to offer. I am enjoying your reading of Realist, 12keystrokes, even as I have many questions and disagreements. I still think it is an interesting and valuable project. I’ve been surprised by the response of the Loungers which, at least among those commenting, rather negative. I don’t mind that either. People should say what they want. I wonder if some of the negativity might be disarmed (rather than exacerbated) by your responses. As 6keystrokes suggests and as I think I’ve shown here, you sometimes respond in deflective rather than substantive ways. Requests for a thesis are put off; mild criticisms or questions are met with suggestions to “keep reading” because “it will make sense” as the posts accrue. You have consistently focused on readers’ motivations, as you do with 6keystrokes here and at the end of your second response in your question to me “What leads to [my comment]?” and occasionally even on those of Realist (to the detriment of your reading, I think).

    I made my comment because it seemed to me, as I’ve tried to show above, that your response was not a helpful one nor in keeping with what you’ve been demanding of your readers. Furthermore, it was dense with suggestions about this site that I think are false and, if taken as true, potentially destructive—at least as much, if not moreso than the presence of demonizing rhetoric. The latter can be taken up and challenged, whereas the innuendo (or what I took to be) implied by your response casts a shadow that is hard to wrestle with and hard to disabuse once established as true. As such, it struck me as important to seek clarification about and challenge. At least that’s why I think I responded to that particular exchange (and not others previously). But maybe not. Who knows why anyone does anything?

    Thus, as a final piece of unsolicited advice from one blogger to another, I leave you with one of my favorite sentences from one of my favorite books: “There is really nothing more to say—except why. But since why is so difficult to handle, one must take refuge in how.” In many places you have requested (and rightly so) that people engage with the argument and the substance. In most subjects the what is relatively straightforward and the how is contentious, but both are important to discuss and both discussions are easily untracked by questions about why (which tend to be philosophical in the sense of being perpetually disputable and immune from conclusive warrant/evidence). If why is the point, then make it your point. If, as you’ve suggested, the what and the how are your focus, then you can help your readers stay focused on it by offering clarifying rather than obfuscating responses to their questions and critiques. Perhaps if you offered readers a little more than you have with respect to a project thesis (or set of conclusions), the sniping would be addressed and the discussion could flourish without the need for public confession or other sorts of discussion-chilling moves (such as the implied threat of anonymity-outing). Questions can sound like criticism and criticism can sound hostile and it can be true that neither perception is accurate.

    With respect to your project, you’ve been somewhat clear about the why (demonizing rhetoric (particularly Realist’s) needs to be addressed and challenged), but unclear about the how (you say you will offer a reading of Realist, but without indicating a thesis for that reading—leading to all sorts of questions about your point: is it descriptive (Realist is a demonizer), normative (Realist should be banned), political (Realist is a fascist), personal (Realist is an asshole), investigatory (Realist is _____ ), which in turn leaves readers confused about the why. Is the reading of the Realist a kind of case study by which you hope to make the case for your ethical claim about demonizing rhetoric? Is the reading the point (in which case it makes sense to wonder how the motivations you’ve stated connect to the project)?

    Personally, I’m satisfied with your prefatory remarks and happy to wait for your conclusion (privileged feeling alert), but it seems clear that a few readers are not. Rather than question their motives, you might toss them a bone.

  7. That’s a lot of typing, but thank you for a relaxing, opening diversion to Spring Break.

    Midterm week took its toll. Last night (Thursday) time was made to catch up on Lounge comments. Total count so far = one comment read. Interestingly, was posted without knowledge of this 6-7 page single-spaced reply of yours, and this happenstance affirms the consistency of both of our positions. Additionally, your 6-7 pages help to clarify and map out areas of disagreement and agreement.

    Quite accidentally, Suite 711 #18 now becomes the elegant reply to your 6-7 pages – which is a “kitchen sink” kind of approach in addition to being “thorough” – but the below is offered as well.

    Re: ACT III

    Apparently, some think that a delayed thesis serves no rhetorical purpose. (Your response builds to ACT III: The Synthesis.) Moreover, Suite 711 is a work-in-progress, so patience is required. Also, some think that either a text or a rhetorical analysis cannot have several intentions. Nonsense. Achieving one intention paves the way to achieving a second or a third. (This is what 6keystrokes implies about the use of demonizing rhetoric leading to overthrowing an oppressor.) Your unsolicited (but useful because it reinforces what is being said right now) advice regarding the “what,” “how,” and “why” mostly maps out an area of agreement re: a delayed thesis/patience/intentions.

    You ask, “Who knows why anyone does anything?” This question (and, ultimately, the larger meaning of your reply) seems rhetorical (is it?) so a direct response to it will be deferred without further explanation of how you want it to be handled; however, it does serve as a transition to areas of disagreement in ACT III: The Synthesis.

    Speculation as to motive isn’t problematic – if you can acquire evidence about the motive.

    It is not impossible to draw conclusions about the actual author. Lounge participants are not dead but living and working (mostly) somewhere within CCC. Historical-biographical information already exists within the text of the Lounge, but there is more to be found within the actual Lounge participants. That information can be solicited by asking questions such as “Are you angry?” Of course, journalism/composition instructors emphasize a focus on textual evidence because historical-biographical information can be a devil to acquire, but if it can be, no journalist/instructor/employer, for example, would shun it. (This would be “vetting.”)

    Your approach to that question-and-answer with 6keystrokes isn’t pointing out anything methodologically wayward. The methodology is conventional.

    So, extra-textual gestures do not necessarily lead to a weak argument. But they could. The Lounge, for example, has thrived on such gestures (e.g. the guessing game re: Realist’s real name) but not to recommended effect. PhiloDave’s Analysis III and ACT III somewhat recognize the influence of that extra-textual world, perhaps most particularly when discussing the “Degree” post (e.g. “Perhaps due to my own blindspots” and “PhiloDave’s feelings/pheelings” [about] “a shift in. . . institutional philosophy. . . .”). It also seems reasonable to surmise that your personal relationship with Realist (or whomever) colors how you weigh the severity of either Realist’s demonizing rhetoric or lack of substance. Most of that is understandable. You two are pals. However, extension of that understanding to you – or to anyone else – has limits (see In light of Reinvention’s “doubling down,” 12keystrokes does indeed believe that Realist’s rhetoric, lack of substance, and popularity make Suite 711 #17 sticky-worthy. (As you write, “a bunch of administrators” regularly read the Lounge, so letting an instructor make such a poor and public showing is off the mark. But, unsurprisingly, you go on to state that the suggestions re: behind-the-scenes sniping and/or duplicity are potentially more damaging than Realist’s demonizing rhetoric and/or popularity.)

    Methinks thou doth protest too much.

    The “Degrees” controversy is read through the fact that 12keystrokes has made links to Occupational Outlook Handbook available to students on Blackboard for several years now. When Career Planner was first released, a cursory glance seemed to indicate that it simply linked to the Handbook. Can anyone verify that?

    It’s unclear how you come to an implied threat of “outing” anyone. That’s what redaction is for. But if anyone does feel threatened, that shouldn’t be “chilling”: welcome to the adult-world of owning your actions/comments. You write, “People should say what they want,” but you mostly treat that slogan in the abstract, consequence-free. (More on this in the Sketches.) For example, “Freedom at any cost!” is a slogan that sounds OK in the abstract, but its implementation might create some problems.

    Finally, the observation that “you sometimes respond in deflective rather than substantive ways” is 12keystrokes’ exact, initial response upon seeing the block of 6-7 pages of text. “Could PhiloDave be up to anything but deflecting?” The fact that your reply begins with the parenthetical aside that 12keystrokes’ “second response came after I wrote most of this, and so it is not treated except passingly here” reinforces the impression of deflecting. You would think that someone would pause, rewrite, and then post something that was mostly written before receiving 12keystrokes’ second post. (See the first paragraph below re: ACT I and “gotcha!”)

    As of this sentence, the 6-7 page reply also feels like phishing. This feeling does not contradict the opening paragraph that “your 6-7 pages help to clarify and map out areas of disagreement and agreement.”

    Re: ACT I

    Yes, there are always a few tweaks that a writer would like to make to something – such is the vision of hindsight – but and mostly express what was meant. Comment #11062 (the second response that you treat “passingly”) is a fruitful consequence of the evolving dialogue here: is it supposed to be seen as a “gotcha!” moment? You write: “. . .or you have unwittingly been imprecise/said something you didn’t mean to,” but of course both comment #11020 and comment #11062 are in response to the question “What are you talking about?”

    12keystrokes will work on providing a screenshot (but not at the expense of Spring Break!).

    The opening scene of ACT I says more about your personal preferences/sensibilities and/or experiences than it does about 12keystrokes’. 6keystrokes states that demonizing rhetoric has had demonstrably positive applications to social movements over the centuries. When asked, 6keystrokes states that she/he is not angry. That’s not unbelievable: while demonizing rhetoric serves no purpose other than to inflame its listeners, those who speak/write such rhetoric often can be “cool and calculating.” 12keystrokes answers the question “No, why?” This is where you enter.

    At that time, in regards to the descriptors employed for the psychological states of 6keystrokes and/or other Lounge posters, you jump from “angry” to “sad and disturbing” (12 keystrokes’ descriptors) to “rage” and “all entirely innocuous” (your descriptors).

    Those are two different conclusions/evaluations. Thus, the rest of your response – C, P, and Z – is mostly academic (though, again, it helps to map out areas of disagreement and agreement).

    Yours is not a logical progression: it’s troping. Why? Because your summation of 12keystrokes’ position in “B” glosses over thread/Lounge context/second response (even though you purport to acknowledge that thread/Lounge context/second response) in order to overwrite 12keystrokes’ descriptors with “rage” (and “pitchforks” etc.) and arrive at the conclusion “all entirely innocuous.”

    You then push on to respond to “B” (i.e. your summation of 12keystrokes’ position under the section “. . . (about 24 hours later)” by drawing upon your breakdown of 100 comments (the app. 10% figure you arrive at is fine). In PhiloDave’s Analysis III of ACT II, you write that you “do not understand claims 1, 2, 3.” That is where 12keystrokes offers another – and, it must be said, a not-very-difficult-to-understand – way of breaking down the numbers instead of a block 1-100 approach without regard for thread/Suite 711 relevancy. You give the appearance of considering different permutations/ways to understand the second response/count – you even write “Maybe, MAYBE” and make some other concessions – only to fall back on your gloss/initial approach and ask a question that goes unanswered: “What’s wrong with this kind of duplicity (posting in one thread under a name and in another anonymously)?”

    So, 12keystrokes would like to ask that same question for anyone to answer: “What’s wrong with this kind of duplicity (posting in one thread under a name and in another anonymously)?” (Real world analogues might be found in voter fraud, say, or tampering with a census count.)

    In other words, stating that you do not understand claims 1, 2, and 3 doesn’t strengthen your analysis, it just shows that you’re still treating the second response somewhat passingly. (Four instances of duplicity equals at least 5 seemingly separate appearances – it cannot be a strict 8 because the four uses of the pseudonym will be grouped under one person/author – of persons offering negative criticism of 12keystrokes. Added to your earlier 10% the slice of pie is in the teens now, and this is employing your block-count approach.) At what percentage/number would you recognize some trend?

    Now here is where much typing could have been avoided: mostly, you insist on viewing any reference to or use of anonymity on the Lounge as an opportunity to defend a philosophical principle or political freedom, but you do that in the abstract. Situating that principle/freedom in the context/praxis of the Lounge reveals that “anonymity” is not being undermined from without but from within (in the sense that there is no great outcry for blanket censorship). Even before Suite 711 began Realist’s postings (and some but not all uses of anonymity) apparently caused concerns that Kamran recently gave voice to in

    Yes – demonizing rhetoric, demonizing usernames, the duplicity use of “anonymous”/pseudonyms that manipulates what readers see and think they are responding to – all is “sad and disturbing.” In the final scene/paragraph of ACT II/PhiloDave’s Analysis III you write that “the role of anger in education would make a really interesting paper/panel/discussion topic.” By this you surely mean a healthy anger, but you do not make that distinction and, as a result, simply dismiss much textual evidence to the contrary. (Again, see
    The duplicitous use of anonymity fans the flames negative emotions, not reason, which takes us back to 6keystrokes’ comment regarding the “positive” – and, surely, elitist – use of demonizing rhetoric in social movements, presumably to motivate the “masses.”)

    Back in the days before caller ID, kids used to make prank phone calls – with varying degrees of harassment/anger possible. But no one saw prank phone calling as illustrative of a philosophical principle or political freedom. Well, maybe some kids did. But what exactly does Realist post that ever rises above the level of prank phone calls?

    ACT I ends by cycling through a reading of “B”/your summation and concludes with PhiloDave’s Analysis II: “This is a great response.”

    Re: ACT II

    Thankfully, the first two scenes are simply expository, this time presenting a mostly accurate summation of 12keystrokes’ two responses. Scene two concludes with an exchange of pleasantries (which were meant on this end) but misread somewhat on your end, resulting in your March 18 reply (during midterms). Additionally, the exchange of pleasantries refers back to the narrative frame/voice over that begins the entire post/play with a “sigh,” leaving this reader to wonder what cultural marker is intended by beginning all of this with a sigh?

    PhiloDave’s Analysis III

    Your treatment of C7 and C9 could be developed further. When you write “your concern seems to be with 6keystrokes’ motivations rather than her/his duplicity or rhetoric” and, earlier, when you write “(see Act I),” would it be accurate to say that you are referring to your summation of 12keystrokes’ position in ‘B’ (see above)? If so, then Analysis III begins by repeating the same tropes and/or glosses over context already discussed. “Motivation” is set in contrast to “duplicity/rhetoric” (and aligned with “rage”/“innocuous”?) though it isn’t clear why a concern for “motivation” is particularly suspect. C7 and C9 don’t seem that confusing from here but further development could change that opinion.

    And so 12keystrokes’ reply ends where yours begins: with a sigh (your sigh, that is).

    More, Please:

    More on Popper and Wittgenstein, and more on that second to last paragraph in PhiloDave’s Analysis III re: sidestepping. 12Keystrokes isn’t following you (but that could be fatigue setting in now). If anything was missed, please sound off (but 12keystrokes fully intends to have an actual Spring Break).

    And it’s gratifying to read that 6keystrokes is not emotionally invested in defending Realist
    (, but it is disappointing to learn that 6keystrokes has difficulty following the simplest of surface details as set forth in Prefatory Remarks and elsewhere in Suite 711 by continuing to ask “Why Realist?” (

    That fact sheds some new light on the exchange between 12keystrokes and 6keystrokes, PhiloDave. Wouldn’t you agree?

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